A Few Words About A few words about...™ Titanic (1953) -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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It would be a pity if director Jean Negulesco's 1953 version of Titanic was totally overshadowed by those that followed it (1958 and 1997), as this is a high quality affair. While it takes a while to get under steam, with Clifton Webb, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner, Thelma Ritter and Brian Aherne in the leads, once it hit about the 50 minute spot, with interrelationships between the passengers positioned, the drama of those on board kicks the film into high gear. For some reason, I incorrectly think of this film as having been in Technicolor, when it was not. Possibly because the black & white imagery has always shined. Cinematographer Joseph MacDonald was a Fox staple for decades, and his work both in black & white, as well as color (both three-strip as well as Eastman) has always been of high quality. Think Viva Zapata!, Pickup on South Street, Bigger than Life, Niagara, etc. This particular Blu-ray release also serves as a perfect example of what the technical team at Fox can do when given quality pre-print to work with, as the resultant imagery as captured to Blu-ray is magnificent. This title, along with many other Fox releases can currently be found at Costco for under $9, which makes the price of ownership easy. Image - 5 Audio - 5 Recommended. RAH
 

Charles Smith

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Only time I've seen this was around the time of Cameron's Titanic when I watched as many of them as I could get my hands on, and up until just recently when something called it to my attention, I "remembered" it being in color! Bizarre!
So glad this is finally out, and VERY glad to read the positive words. Now, what to do about my local Costco, which, unlike others, has dropped the stocking of these catalog titles of late?
 

SteveJKo

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Mr. Harris, thank you so much for the “heads up” that this title is finally out and very much worth the wait. Although not as accurate as A Night To Remember, it’s still a fine film that does a great job evoking the era in which it takes place. I first saw it on TV one Sunday afternoon, I was probably about 10 years old. My grandmother suggested it to me, knowing I was developing an interest in all things Titanic. As the film progressed to it’s inevitable conclusion my grandmother suddenly burst into tears. She was 19 years old when the real event happened, and the film brought back all kinds of memories of that tragic week in 1912.
 

Johnny Angell

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I just watched this on TCM and enjoyed it, but not so much to make me want the blu. There was one oddity that I have a question about. The film depicts a significant number of passengers boarding after the ship has left the dock via a tender. Did this really happen or is this just fiction?
 

Robert Harris

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angell
I just watched this on TCM and enjoyed it, but not so much to make me want the blu. There was one oddity that I have a question about. The film depicts a significant number of passengers boarding after the ship has left the dock via a tender. Did this really happen or is this just fiction?
I noted that as well, and have no idea.
 

Johnny Angell

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Robert Harris said:
I noted that as well, and have no idea.
I'll wage we have a Titanic enthusiast who can answer the question. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought it was odd.
 

TravisR

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Johnny Angell said:
I just watched this on TCM and enjoyed it, but not so much to make me want the blu. There was one oddity that I have a question about. The film depicts a significant number of passengers boarding after the ship has left the dock via a tender. Did this really happen or is this just fiction?
I haven't seen this movie in years so I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about but the real Titanic went from Southampton, England to Cherbourg, France and then to Queenstown, Ireland before starting to cross the Atlanitc. Both the French and Irish ports didn't have docks big enough for the Titanic so they had to bring people over by other smaller ships.
 

Johnny Angell

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TravisR said:
I haven't seen this movie in years so I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about but the real Titanic went from Southampton, England to Cherbourg, France and then to Queenstown, Ireland before starting to cross the Atlanitc. Both the French and Irish ports didn't have docks big enough for the Titanic so they had to bring people over by other smaller ships.
That could be it. I don't recall if the movie mentioned what port they were at.
 

alistairKerr

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There were two tenders: the "Nomadic" and the "Traffic". The former still exists - it lay derelict on the Seine in Paris for many years, but has now returned to Belfast and is berthed near the new Titanic museum and is undergoing restoration. Alistair
 

Johnny Angell

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Think you Alistair. I knew the question would be answered. So this Titanic movie is accurate in portraying passengers coming on board via tender.
 

JimMiller

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There is more emotion in the short scene where Stanwyck says goodbye to Webb than in the entire Cameron version. Granted, Cameron's version has astounding special effects but I'd give them all up for a scene like the one of Stanwyck looking back at the ship. Her face says it all. Just my opinion.
 

Johnny Angell

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JimMiller said:
There is more emotion in the short scene where Stanwyck says goodbye to Webb than in the entire Cameron version. Granted, Cameron's version has astounding special effects but I'd give them all up for a scene like the one of Stanwyck looking back at the ship. Her face says it all. Just my opinion.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that. I found plenty of emotion in the romance between Jack and Rose and the scene on that bit of wood that would only support Rose was packed with emotion. I liked Jack and Rose, my heart ached for them to have a full life together. I liked Jack. He never took advantage of Rosé and remained her protector to the end. I do agree with you that the moments with Webb and Stanwyck and then together at the end with his son were emotional and put a lump in my throat.
 

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I haven't seen this film in ages but remember being bored by its soap opera like acting and dull pacing. I'm a huge all things Titanic fan so I will have to give this another look to see if my memory serves correct.
 

Johnny Angell

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Tino said:
I haven't seen this film in ages but remember being bored by its soap opera like acting and dull pacing. I'm a huge all things Titanic fan so I will have to give this another look to see if my memory serves correct.
Until they hit the iceberg there is little that occurs that requires the characters to be on the ship. It's a story that could have been placed elsewhere, until they hit the berg. Cameron's version requires much more of the story to be on the Titanic. But I think it's harsh to call it soap opera acting. Webb and Stanwyck are much better than that.
 

Tino

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Johnny Angell said:
Until they hit the iceberg there is little that occurs that requires the characters to be on the ship. It's a story that could have been placed elsewhere, until they hit the berg. Cameron's version requires much more of the story to be on the Titanic. But I think it's harsh to call it soap opera acting. Webb and Stanwyck are much better than that.
Like I said, it's been about 15 years since I last saw this film. I know it won the screenplay Oscar so who am I to argue its merits. I'm curious to see how it holds up for me.
 

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Johnny Angell said:
Think you Alistair. I knew the question would be answered. So this Titanic movie is accurate in portraying passengers coming on board via tender.
Cameron's Titanic also shows the Tenders at Cherbourg. There were multiple boardings/leavings of the Titanic during the voyage. The pictures of the journey that survive were taken by a minister who got off at the last stop. Maybe he had some inside word from his boss... Always liked this film along with most any film about Titanic. This was the last big-budget film from Fox before Cinemascope debuted so had things been different we could have seen this in Color AND widescreen. I think the shape of the ship is perfect for 2.55...
 

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